Knitting knote – sock round-counter and cable needle

Sock round-counter and cable needle

I’ve always had a bit of a problem keeping track of what row I’m on. Was it row 122 or 123? Damn and blast. Nothing to do but count them, again. Many of my knitting patterns are covered with notations like those usually depicted on the walls of prisons – endless repetitions of four vertical lines scored through by a diagonal fifth – made in an effort to keep track of where I am. Or there’s the mechanical row-counter, slid onto the end of a needle and turned on a unit each time a row is completed. The problem with both these methods is that it’s very easy to forget to make the mark, turn the bezel.

And that’s just on two needles, knitting flat fabric back and forth. The problem becomes more complex knitting in the round because there’s nowhere useful to stow the row-counter, no needle-end for it to nestle up against. But I’ve come up with a solution so cunning that it’s almost impossible to go wrong. And, I must point out, I thought this up *all by myself* although no doubt it has been known about among those wise in the lore of knitting for several hundreds of years.

So. I always know the beginning of every round because the stitches are on four needles and the start is marked by the tail of the cast on. So I always know which is “needle one”. On it is placed, as you can see above, a stitch marker (in this case a safety-pin with a conveniently-sized circle at the end). It’s placed after the number of stitches indicating the number of rounds that have been repeated. So in the arrangement shown in this photograph I know instantly that I’m on the third round of the 10 round pattern repeat. It’s impossible to forget to move it on because it’s physically there when you knit along the needle.

Oh joy! oh happiness!! No more feverish counting of hundreds of tiny rows to work out whether it’s this row I need to make the cable on, the next row or (worst of all) the row I’ve just completed and will subsequently have to unravel and rework.

The cable needle is half a toothpick, sanded down and varnished with clear nail varnish.

I’m ridiculously pleased with my own ingenuity.

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6 Comments on “Knitting knote – sock round-counter and cable needle”

  1. dale says:

    That is enchantingly clever!

  2. Tall Girl says:

    I am in awe at all your knitting adventures and your home-spun technical wizardry only adds a further dimension (awe within awe)

  3. Jean says:

    Aha, *exactly* what I need, I thought, as I struggle with my first sock which is truly making my brain hurt – and this is just the welt (good thing the yarn is really gorgeous, which motivates me to keep trying). Alas, my poor little brain doesn’t understand how this works – you’ll have to explain it to me at a remedial level of explicitness some time.

  4. Jean says:

    Or do you just mean that you move the safety pin on by one stitch when each round of repeats is completed? In which case, good for pattern repeats, but a bit laborious just for row counting.

  5. rr says:

    That’s exactly what I mean, Jean. With this particular pattern since the cable is every 10th row it’s really easy to keep track of the total – number of twists x 10 + number of rows as shown by the position of the safety pin. But if it’s plain st st I’m less bothered by keeping a running total of rows knitted since I just keep going til it’s the right length and then count and make a note so as to ensure the other sock has the same number. Ditto with the welt.

  6. […] making a pair of socks for my father in mirage […]


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